SEATTLE - Two man-made islands are now floating on a contaminated lake and hopefully beginning to eat up toxins.

Hicklin Lake is the lowest part of a watershed in Seattle s White Center area. Therefore most of the bad runoff that comes from streets, yards and parking lots in that neighborhood ends up in Hicklin Lake. Because the lake has no outlet, everything that flows in, stays in.

That makes it the best place for a Scottish company to show off a floating island system that uses native plants and natural products to grow the organisms that can eat up harmful nutrients. It also has strands of material that dangle below the islands to attract more of the good organisms.

Biomatrix Water is based near Loch Ness in Scotland. It teamed up with the Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc. of Seattle to plant and launch two islands on the small lake.

King County is using a grant to launch the project on a lake that has a long history of pollution. Hicklin Lake was developed into a swimming and fishing area in the 1960s but was then deemed too unhealthy for that kind of activity.

County leaders doubt it will ever be a swimming lake, but if they can reduce its toxic load, it can become safer for the people, fish and wildlife that live there.

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